3. Blogs: ideas for practice

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Meg’s Blogagogical objectives

  1. To collect and compare ideas for how you could use blogs in your class.
  2. To generate ideas for how you could use blogs in your classroom.
  3. To assess a range of blogs for usefulness, effectiveness, communication style and ease of use.
  4. To select a blog or blogs to refer to as a model for your own blogging enterprise.

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Your objectives

hat are you hoping to learn from this module? Your objectives can be the same as mine, but is there anything else you are expecting to learn? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

Blog it here.

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Introduction

Teachers use blogs in three main ways: as a professinal tool for sharing with other teachers, as a class management and communication system, and as an educational tool. This module describes some of the most common things teachers are doing on blogs, but asks you, too, to come up with some ideas of your own for using blogs in the classroom.

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Focus questions: Using blogs

Now that you’ve looked at some blogs in the Blogging in education module, start thinking about how teachers have been using blogs in terms of professional communication, class management and education: What sorts of announcements, thoughts or information are posted and in what context (communication, assessment, class assignments … )? What do you need to know more about? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

Blog it here.

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What could you blog?

Here are some ideas for blogging.

Professional blogs: teachers blogging for teachers

  • Provide tips for other teachers
  • Reflect on practice
  • Share ideas
  • Explore important issues in the profession (Richardson 2006: 40-2).

Possible topics could include

  • Professional issues
  • Discoveries
  • Resource sharing
  • Pedagogy
  • Curriculum
  • Dealing with behavioural problems
  • Tips and tools
  • Networking
  • Educational policy
  • School issues
  • Community announcements.

Check out Ben Goodman’s blog for an example of a teacher blogging for teachers.

Class management blogs: teachers blogging for students (Richardson 2006: 40-4; UHCL n.d.: online)

  • Communicate the latest class info
  • Provide links
  • Provide advice on how to complete assignments
  • Provide assignment info
  • Communicate with parents
  • Assignment review
  • Assignment submission
  • Post prompts for reflection on class topics

Blogagogy is an example of using a blog as a ‘learning management system.’

Educational blogs: blogging by students (Richardson 2006: 40-4; UHCL n.d.: online)

  • Comment on new items or current affairs
  • Discuss the ‘learning journey’
  • Discuss workshop activities
  • Writing journals
  • E-portfolios
  • Blogs by individual students or by groups of student

Miss Baker’s Extreme Biology blog is an excellent example of a mix of student and teacher posts.

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Exercise: Brainstorm blogging

Brainstorm other uses can you think of for blogs in the classroom. Separate things out according to your blogging purpose: for other teachers, for students, by students. Once you’ve got a topic area, start thinking about the content: what would you include in terms of issues, specifics, links? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

Blog it here.

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Exercise: Analyse some blogs

Find examples of each type of blog: a teacher-for-teachers blog, a student/parent communication blog, a student blog for a particular class or course. Analyse and then compare them for effectiveness, communication style, usefulness for the intended audience, ease of finding the right info. Select a blog that you would refer to as a model for your own classroom blog and explain why you would use it. Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

Blog it here.

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Exercise: Your blogging plan

Begin to formulate your blogging plan. Will you be blogging for students, or will you ask students to blog themselves? What is the purpose of the blog? Is it for other teachers? For communication with students or parents? For student learning? Below are some places to start. Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it! You can also use Meg’s Blogging Plan (pdf, 296 KB) to help guide you.

For other teachers

  • What is your focus? What will make people read your blog? Theory? Philosophy? Sociology? Student behaviour? Edtech? Policy? Current issues?
  • How passionate are you about the topic? Can you maintain an interest?
  • Can you share other resources with teachers? Links? Media?

For class management

  • What sorts of messages or announcements will you post?
  • Will students or parents be responsible for keeping up-to-date with the latest announcements?
  • Will you be uploading assignments for students to access at home?
  • What if a student doesn’t have access at home? Will you expect them to access your blog at school or via a public library?

For student learning

  • Thinking/reflection prompts
  • Group or individual blogs?
  • Assessment
  • Teaching privacy, copyright, security
  • Will you set up a blog for each student or group, or will you ask them to do it themselves? Will you allow them to find their own blog site, provided it meets certain requirements that you set out yourself?

Blog it here.

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Reflection

Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

  • What have I learnt?
  • What is still unclear?
  • What do I need to follow up on?
  • Where to from here?
  • What other stuff I have read or accessed to help me make sense of it all?

Blog it here.

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Have you finished?

If you’re only using a blog as a professional or class management tool, then you might want to skip the next two modules and go straight to the Privacy, security and copyright module. If you’re using blogs for explicit educational purposes, then you’ll need to have a look at the next module, Blogging consideratons, and the module on how to assess student blogs.

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Links and resources

Edublog awards

Ben Goodman’s Class BlogMeister Tech Blog

Blog examples

Edublog awards

Mrs McNamara’s Class

Mr Darnell’s English Class

Miss Baker’s Extreme Biology

Ben Goodman’s Class BlogMeister Tech Blog

Math Concepts Explained

Planet Infinity. My KHMS Math Class

Español 1, 2006-2007

Tufte’s Economics Classes Blog

Maybry Online PE Blog

31G Phys Ed Blog

Sociology with Nath, a forum for students who tend not to contribute much in class. From Nathan at The Canberra College 🙂

Multimedia and Animation, more from Nath at The Canberra College

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